Viavélez

I haven’t been in far too long – probably years – but as is so often the case I can’t tell you why. Viavélez is a brilliant little taberna/restaurant/bistro specializing in the food of Asturias – the beloved country that is near to my heart – and famous in particular for its croquettes. And based on this photo – kindly sent to me by @Amandosfalcon – it also deserves to be famous as a sherry temple. Magnificent stuff – every base covered. Will not be long before I go back!

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Wilda

I haven’t been to Wilda yet, but all the cool kids are going so I couldn’t resist lifting a few pictures off twitter and sharing (let’s be honest if I took my own they would be rubbish).

Here is what I know: it looks cool; the people behind it are top quality; Calle del Leon 9 is in Huertas, strategically located halfway between Angelita and La Fisna; they have a cracking list of wines by the glass (including 14 wines you will find on the pages of this blog, and a couple of little beauties too); and they are not open on Mondays or Tuesdays. (I am really hoping they are open on Friday at lunchtime – we shall just have to see.)

That is all I can tell you for the moment: for more information I strongly recommend following their adventures on twitter at @vinosfelinos. Or even better, get down to Calle del Leon and get in there.

Surtopia

All too brief dropin at Surtopia – newly crowned Tapas champions – this morning. Always a fantastic spot, the food here just gets better and better, and the decor has been upgraded even further in the summer. 

But the neatest upgrade is to the winelist: in addition to the outstanding selection of manzanillas, finos, amontillados, palo cortados, olorosos, and red, white and pink wines from el Marco (no fewer than 21 table wines from the Cadiz region), they now have a super list of 22 grower- producer champagnes, at absolutely fantastic prices.

Of course I stuck to the old favourites – the house wine, which in this case is of course a special bottling of Sanchez Ayala’s famous Gabriella Oro. 

The River Oyster Bar, Miami 


After a couple of weeks travelling around the United States arriving in Miami almost seemed like a homecoming – Spanish being spoken all around and cafe con leche available. And after a few weeks of precious little to write about in the sherry stakes on my last night in the United States I happened across a really nice little list with only five sherries (ok, four sherries and one Montilla Moriles) it is true, but five nice wines and one in particular – the Hidalgo “export” fino – that I could not resist. It really hit the spot – and even came with a couple of little chicharones. 

It was just one highlight of an excellent wine list in fact, with wines from all over the world thoughtfully artanged by style. I took advantage and followed up with an excellent bottle of California bubbles – a 2014 Schramsberg blanc de blancs, which in turn helped wash down some brilliant local snapper and grouper. The service too was top class – unflappable and friendly in the face of a severe test – and I am only sorry I couldn’t stop longer and explore the list more. 

Most enjoyable and a nice little surprise at the end of a fun trip. If you are in Miami look out the River Oyster Bar – a cracking spot. 

Corral de la Moreria: The greatest show on earth 

A magical evening last night at the Corral de la Moreria in every sense. I had seen flamenco before but this was a different level, in fact a different game altogether. While we watched we tucked into an absolutely first class dinner – including certainly the finest pigeon I have ever tasted – served with incredible efficiency and dexterity by waiters cunningly crouched down low so as not to obscure the view of the show. And the wines were not only individually outstanding – just look at that lineup – but perfectly matched. 

If anything it was just too much: my tiny mind could not take it all in. Even had I been able to follow everything that was taking place on stage and simultaneously appreciate the superb cooking, the wines were just excessive, culminating in a final three of Palo Cortado Privilegio, the 1946 Convento Don PX and the Toneles. How does a fella even begin to describe all that? 

An unforgettable experience. Really exceptional.

Ramiro Ibañez in Surtopia – 2017

Surtopia 2017

With apologies for the late notice, this is a shout out to anyone in the Madrid area: today and tomorrow Ramiro Ibañez will be putting in a shift as sommelier in the little corner of Madrid that most resembles his hometown Sanlucar, Surtopia.

Aside from the chance to meet the man himself, a special menu has been arranged to be paired with five wines brought by Ramiro and all for the modest sum of €60.

Last year’s edition was top drawer – see posts here, here and here – and although I have no idea if the plan is similar it is a great opportunity, or excuse, to get out and have some interesting wines. So see you there later!

Narciso

A really solid sherry list this, from Narciso Brasserie, a relatively new opening in my neighbourhood. A lot of bases covered in terms of categories and in terms of styles within each category. The other place is represented by the Fino Capataz and Amontillado Carlos VII by Alvear and the Perez Barquero Amontillado and amongst the sweet wines they also had Emilin by Lustau, on what was a pretty impressive wine list overall.

Definitely one for my growing list in wine terms – and the steak tartare was very acceptable too.